Swimmer’s Ear

Summer is here which means more fun in the water, whether in the lake, river or pool.  Water fun can also lead to swimmer’s ear however; there is a trick you can use in order to decrease your chances of developing swimmer’s ear.

Swimmer’s Ear Prevention

A 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and rubbing alcohol can help decrease your child’s chances of swimmer’s ear.  The white vinegar balances the PH of the ear while the rubbing alcohol will dry out the ear to remove the moist areas where bacteria likes to grow.  Place three to four drops of the mixture into the child’s ear after swimming.

Swimmer’s Ear Symptoms

Wax is produced naturally in the ear and water can become trapped behind the wax creating a fullness or pressure on/in the ear.  If your child gets water in their ear, have the child lie down and let the water run out of their ear naturally.  Please avoid using Q-tips or other invasive objects designed to dry out the ear as these often lead to eardrum damage which can lead to infection.  With swimmer’s ear a child will complain of his/her ear(s) feeling full, clogged, or painful for two or more days.  If your child is still complaining of fullness, pain, or a clogged feeling 24 hours after the initial onset it is time to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician.

Swimmer’s Ear Treatment

Swimmer’s ear is treated with oral or topical antibiotics.  The pain of swimmer’s ear can be relieved with over the counter Ibuprofen or Tylenol and it is recommended that the child remain out of the water until pain free.

John Zachary, M.D. of the James River Pediatrics Division of Pediatric Partners of Virginia, loves kids and has been treating swimmers (big and small) for over 35 years.